You look stunning, now get out there and show them!”
She was dressed in full lace iro and buba with green and pink gele and her favorite makeup artist had done a spectacular job on her face. Which was good. Because left to her devices, she would have slapped on some of the old Mary-kay powder from her “makeup bag” and some Mac lipstick, her favorite: fashion revival, and gone on with little regard for matching and contouring or anything else. She had a lot on her mind.
Today was supposed to be a happy day. He was supposed to be here. But she would have to do it all on her own.
No problem. She knew what she got herself into.
She picked up one of the equally well dressed seven-day old twins, the nanny held the other and they walked into the small naming ceremony of family and friends.
How interesting that word had become.
She looked on and saw the face that hurt the most. Her sister-in-law Adetola. They used to be so close. But Tola was now so angry. She did not understand. How could she. Her husband is healthy, sitting next to her. Her three healthy children playing unabashedly.
Two years ago
She had been so happy. And it all changed. She was on her way home from work downtown Chicago when she got the call. She needed to get home immediately.
She rushed home and met a police officer. His face was so kind. She remembered that. His face had the softness of someone who has done this so often but had not grown cold. He was here to change her life forever.
All she made out was:
She was dazed. It was just one year ago when they got married.
And only 6 months before that when the Doctor declared him cancer-free. He had been skin and bones at their wedding, but insisted on getting married right away, because “life is too short”
How can life be so cruel.
They had been so in love. So in love.
He was the strong one. How was she supposed to live on without him. One year. And now she was a widow. Such a harsh word.
Then she made a decision which would plague everyone. But she knew it was the right decision.
While in law school, she took a course on wills, trusts and estates and learned something about post morterm sperm extraction. She knew what she had to do. She was going to have his baby.
Of course Tola could not understand. Teni had talked about their children incessantly. He wanted a house full of little Tenis. And Little Sades. She actually didn't care to. She had been so ‘meh’ about kids. Her nieces and nephews were so much fun to be around. For about 2 hours. Then she would be ready to go home and lay down. He’d convinced her. Something about the idea of a kid with his zest for life and her calculating eyes. Sigh.
He wanted to try as soon as they got married. But she wanted them to just enjoy one another. She’d convinced him that they would start after the one year mark.
And then he died.
So she did what she thought was most reasonable, she had their little Teni or Sade by herself. It never actually occurred to her to ask his family for permission. That was one of her fatal flaws, according to Teni, she was too independent. He loved her for it, but he always knew that that level of independence can be off putting for some people, all her exes, for example.
Sade does what she wants. Because she can.
So when she called her sister-in-law, 7 months ago to share the news that she was pregnant, Tola was silent. And then asked, who’s the father. It never even crossed her mind that there would be a question about that. They had been so close, maybe because Tola was the only girl with 4 brothers, and Sade had a limited use for friends before now.
Tola was so angry. Something about sullying their family’s reputation, and having children with a dead man’s bodily fluids.
It was not the reaction she expected. The family was oddly split. Teni’s mom was so overjoyed at the prospect of her grand children, she just did not care about things like bodily autonomy of the deceased and such modern nonsense. She was so honored that Sade would do this for them.
For myself, Sade thought to herself.
So, on one side was Grandma, and the three youngest brothers, they just didn't care, they liked her, they liked babies. And with Tola was her oldest brother, Tolu, who was mostly grossed out by the whole thing. He also thought Sade should have, at the very least sought permission from their family.
Even though the extraction procedure was performed very quickly after his death, Sade waited almost a year to inseminate because she wanted to make sure it was what she wanted, and it was. So on her deceased husbands birthday, she went to the fertility clinic and was inseminated. She was prepared to raise her child by herself. No help from family if they did not want to help. She was happy to have them involved if they wanted to.
Then she found out there were two children. A boy and a girl
She was so happy and stunned. Thats when she called Tola for the second time and told her she wanted her to be involved. And the entire family, if they wanted to be.
She technically didnt need them. His life insurance payout, combined with her healthy lawyer income made sure the kids would be all taken care of. She knew she had enough love to give to them, but, no kid every suffered from too much love.
So here they are, at the naming ceremony. Possibly starting over with his family. His mother beamed at her and came and took the second child from the Nanny, nodded to the pastor.
Time to start the naming ceremony of the ibeji.
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All fiction. Any similarities are coincidental.